Smoking in the Workplace in South Africa: Law and Practice Relating to the Rights and Obligations of Employers and Employees

Jamil Ddamulira Mujuzi


South Africa has a high smoking population. The preamble to the Tobacco Products Control Act, the piece of legislation that establishes the legal regime that controls the production, marketing, advertisement, selling and smoking of tobacco products in public places, acknowledges that tobacco use ‘is extremely injurious to the health of smokers, non smokers and other users of tobacco products’; ‘has caused widespread addiction in society’; and ‘warrants, in the public interest, a restrictive legislation.’ One of the objectives of Tobacco Products Control Act is to regulate the circumstances under which tobacco products can be used in public places including workplaces. The Act makes smoking in a public place an offence and obliges employers who wish that smoking should still be permitted at places of work to ensure that areas are designated at places of work where smokers must go and smoke. However, the Act also empowers employers to totally ban smoking at workplaces. The purpose of this paper is to highlight the provisions and regulations relating to smoking at workplaces and to discuss the reported cases in which the different bargaining council arbitrators have dealt with the issue of employers’ and employees’ rights in cases relating to smoking at workplaces.

Author's affiliations

Jamil Ddamulira Mujuzi, Faculty of Law, University of the Western Cape

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smoking; workplace; rights;obligations

Cite this article

South African Journal of Bioethics and Law 2010;3(2):79.

Article History

Date submitted: 2010-04-28
Date published: 2010-12-15

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